KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics has canceled its 2020 spring sports season effective immediately, the NAIA announced Monday.
The spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, prompted the NAIA to make Monday's decision. The cancellation includes on all NAIA campuses for every sport.
“All possible scenarios that would have supported a spring sports season were seriously considered by multiple NAIA governance groups,” NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr said in a press release. “However, the growing state of emergency due to COVID-19, as well as the Center for Disease Control’s recommendation yesterday to limit gatherings to fewer than 50 people for eight weeks, meant we could not in good conscience move forward with the spring sports season and championships.”
No spring sport athletes in the NAIA will be charged a season of competition, and any who were enrolled full-time this year will be given two extra semester terms of attendance, or the equivalent, per the NAIA's release.
A member of the NAIA is the Frontier Conference, which features teams from Carroll College, Montana State-Northern, Montana Tech, Montana Western, Rocky Mountain College and the University of Providence.
All seven Montana Frontier schools field spring sports programs: Carroll, Northern, Tech and Rocky have men's and women's golf, while Carroll, Western, Rocky and Providence have men's and women's outdoor track.
Last week, the NAIA canceled all of its winter sports championships, including the women's basketball tournament, which was scheduled to be played this week in Billings.
The GNAC and Mountain West suspended/canceled spring sporting events last week, and the Cascade Collegiate Conference announced it was canceling spring sports on Monday, four days after it announced it was suspending competitions until March 29. Carroll (men's and women's soccer), Northern (men's wrestling), Providence (men's and women's wrestling, men's and women's soccer) and Rocky (men's and women's soccer) are members of the CCC in some sports.
"While this is certainly disappointing news for all of our student-athletes in the CCC and the entire NAIA, unprecedented circumstances require unprecedented decisions," Cascade Commissioner Robert Cashell said in a press release. "We will, as a conference give everyone an opportunity to turn their full attention to their campus as they determine the best steps forward to ensure the health and well-being of the entire campus community."